Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Philosopher's Carnival #164

The Philosophers' Carnival, as you probably know, posts links to selected posts from around the blogosphere, chosen and hosted by a different blogger every month. Since philosophers are basically just children in grown-up bodies (as a Gopnik student, I intend this as flattery), I use a playground theme.

The Philosophy of Mind Sandpit:
I charge into the sandpit. There's David Papineau with his cricket bat staring at me, incredibly focused -- but why does a batter need to be focused if batting is just reflex responsiveness? There must be something more. But we don't know what it is, says R. Scott Bakker, most of whose Three Pound Brain is, he admits, a mystery to him. We're all blind (to the machinery of our cognitive activity) but we're blind to this blindness, and so invent dualist ontologies. Why am I digging here, then? I don't know. Why do I believe he might be wrong? I don't know that either! Scott agrees: I have no idea why I believe he might be wrong. But at least, says Wolfgang Schwarz, my disbelief is very fine-grained, you know, like this sand right here.

The Curving Tunnel of Logic and Language:
Into the darkness we go, with Jason Zarri's fuzzy argument for crisp negation. I seem to be turned around, in a half-true circle! Worse still, I seem to be stuck with a correspondence theory of truth, since Tristan Haze is telling me that my projective-based skepticism about facts is itself a projective-fallacy. Oy, this is dizzier than a whirligig! I try to get out of the tunnel, but here comes Eli Sennesh with two boxes and a nearly-omniscient demon and he's trying to get me the million dollars instead of the thousand I thought I knew I was rationally doomed to.

The Epistemic Slide:
Hi, Richard Chappell! Would you like to play this little non-normative game with me, called "seeking the truth"? No? You say that my continued attachment to such a game is arbitrary by my own lights? Wah! Good thing I don't believe that your criticism has any objective normative merit. La-la-la. Meanwhile, Ralph Wedgwood from Certain Doubts is trying to get things -- pieces of knowledge, or is it gum? -- to adhere to me, as long as they adhere in the sense that if and only if the case were sufficiently similar with respect to what makes it rational for me to believe P1 in C1 would I also believe P2 in C2. Good thing Richard Pettigrew has given me a metric for determining how inaccurate my total doxastic state is!

The Moral Teeter-Totter:
Look over there! Jonny Pugh is bouncing up and down, tip, don't tip, tip, don't tip -- I think he might tip right over on the question of whether new technologies that make the option to tip more salient will and should change the culture of tipping. Stacey Goguen at Feminist Philosophers has a nice compilation of recent reflections on the ups and downs of "trigger warnings" in the classroom. And now here's Alexander Pruss telling me that intentionally making babies is morally wrong because I can't have any specific baby's good in mind and I shouldn't make a baby for reasons that don't include the specific baby's own good. Fine with me! Making babies is gross. And if some of us kids do it anyway, it was only by accident, when we were playing doctor.

The Philosophy of Science Picnic Table:
Ah, there's Scott Aaronson, looking skeptically at the consciousness sandwich Guilio Tononi gave him. Evidently, Guilio told him the moon is made of peanut butter. But Dick Dorkins at Genotopia isn't worried. In fact, he's pleased that he finally has really scientifically solid evidence, that the scientists themselves (but not the Wall Street Journal) are too wimpy to embrace, that his British marmite-and-lard is superior to the tawnier sandwiches of people from more southerly continents or subcontinents or whatever they are. (Do I see his tongue in his cheek?)

The Historical Jungle Gym:
Lunch is over. Time to climb around and get sick! Barry Stocker at NewAPPS is on top of the jungle gym, wondering why more people aren't thinking about the ancient skeptic Sextus Empiricus as a virtue ethicist. I don't know! A dubious proposition. But I'm at peace with that.

Fingerpainting Aesthetics on the Playground Walls:
See that familiar avian aesthetician over there, drawing pictures of Christopher Nolan's cinematic femmes fatales? They might not be what they seem! Wait, does that woman have two faces?

Metaphilosophical/Issues-in-the-Profession Party Poopers:
Look, I just want to pick a side, say something that makes sense, and stop, okay John Holbo. All this thinking is too hard. So don't try to diagnose why all the kids around here are such bad philosophical writers. It's because Aunt Flo can't buy me enough electric blue Gogurt on minimum wage. And here is Eric Schliesser, criticizing poor Slavoj Zizek just for telling his students "if you don’t give me any of your shitty papers, you get an A". Slavoj wants to be nice. He really does. Really, really, he does. And he would be nice if he weren't always surrounded by stupid, incompetent jerks unlike himself.

The next carnival will be hosted in a month at Siris. You may submit suggestions for inclusion in the next carnival (from your own blog or favorite posts from others' blogs) at the Philosopher's Carnival homepage.

[Revised 2:22 pm.]


Anonymous said...

Eric Schwitzgebel said...

Thanks for the link, Anon! Mine included the -dmf at the end, so here's a cleaner version: